Who’s Reality is THIS?
While visiting Family in Madison over Easter break, I enjoyed an excellent dinner and intelligent conversation with two of my closest friends. We shared intimate details about our lives, our men, children, careers, and even talked a little about shopping and hairstyles. We chatted for two hours, and were really getting into the thick of it, when Anne said, “Oh I should have recorded Idol tonight ~ it’s on right now!”
Sandy chimed in, “I’m recording it, you can come over and watch it!”
I was incredulous. I’m not a snob, but I couldn’t believe what I heard. Sandy and Anne were hooked on American Idol! I watched three minutes of that show about two years ago and quickly changed the channel. So I had nothing to say while Sandy and Anne discussed Idol details; who they thought would win and why; how pretty some girl was, but her hair was funky; and how that one guy didn’t really sing that great.
In my opinion, American Idol is the mother of all lame, ridiculous so-called Reality TV shows, and even if 100 million Americans watch it, that doesn’t make it good TV. It’s embarassing, really. All those shows could be lumped under one heading: What People Will do for Money and Ten Minutes of Notoriety.
The original reality TV show that I enjoyed as a youngster was Candid Camera. Now THAT was good TV! Clean, humorous, respectful even in the midst of a trick, good for an honest laugh out loud any day. And remember Art Linkletter and his wonderful interviews of children? He got them to say the most hilarious things, while he showed respect for them as individuals. No one ratted on another person, used profanity, lied or cheated to get something, or made lewd gestures at the camera. No one had to eat worms, crawl around in dog shit, or be covered by spiders and snakes.
Today’s reality TV is just garbage masquerading as prime time fare. I respect anyone’s right to watch it, but I don’t have to jump on the bandwagon. I’ll just go read my book now.
Out of the mouths of boys...
These are just a few of the rich comments and thoughtful ideas that come from my kids, two rambunctious boys in the most exciting parts of their young lives ~ so far, according to my nine-year-old.Some things they say make me hug them tighter and choke back a tear of longing, wanting to linger on this page in our lives together just a bit longer. Other times I just want to crawl in the closet and scream, or take a long solitary walk. Why do I have to be the mediator all the time? Can’t they just get along!?!
- Does the Grim Reaper know if someone is choking?
- What would happen if gravity was reversed? Everything would hang UP, not down, right?
- How does the cheese get on the moon?
- Why do some people like George Bush?
- Next time, don’t sing with me, OK?
- Your breath stinks. Pew!
- How do the cats know who to sleep on?
- Look! Did the cat throw up a mouse or a bird?
- What kind of guts are those?
- Let’s count to a hundred a hundred times!
- I hid my math homework so now I don’t have to do it. Right?
- Mom, Torin hit me after I hit him!
- He punched me in the eye, so I had to kick him in the leg. Golden Rule, right Mom? Do unto others as they do unto you? That’s what you said, Mom... Yes it is! ... Is so!
- Turn the light back on, I have a booger.
- Is diarrhea when water comes out of your butt? I hate that!
- Can I? Can I, Mom? Can I? Why can’t I, Mom? Can I?
- MOM! Logan just put Batman’s feet in the salsa!
- I’ll love you even when you’re dead in heaven...
- I love you bigger than the Milky Way!
- If I was paint, and Logan was paper, you could use me to paint on him!
Memories of my sibling contests of power and control creep up on me, and ridiculous teenage arguments with my mother ~ who loves me nonetheless. (For all the doors I slammed and the dirty looks I snarled in your direction, I'm sorry Mom!)
So this is my legacy; these young boys, their rich full lives, and who they turn out to be. The recipe is ever changing, but includes: Love, Prayer, Patience, Stamina, Playfulness, Discipline, Generosity, Sincerity. So far so good.
Hey, Weight a Minute!
I'm not overly focusd on my weight, sometimes I don't even get on the scale for weeks. That's usually in summer ~ active, busy, not feeling winter flabby. But around mid-October, I started to notice a slight weight gain. The digital scale registered the usual 170 (I'm 5"11"), then the next day 171, and then 173 the day after that. A bit unsettled, I started weighing myself first thing in the morning, naked, without coffee, and after peeing.
So I started Kicking My Butt:
I pulled out every exercise video I have; I did Billy Blanks' 1-hour Get Ripped Tae Bo, after a half hour of Gay Gasper step aerobics and Awesome Abs; I did 50-minute Buns of Steel to warm up for Cindy Crawford's Next Challenge.
I trimmed the fat off everything; no chicken skin (even that really good crunchy seasoned stuff), and I didn't sneak (much) of the kids' Halloween candy. I used one-fourth the amount of butter (yes, real butter, no fake yellow grease here) than I used to. No ice cream; no A&W Root Beer; baked chips instead fried.
Then I started worrying.
What if I have a fast-growing cancer that weighs, oh, about ten pounds!?
What if I'm entering menopause earlier than I expected?!
What if I have an autoimmune disorder that slows metabolism at an alarming rate!?
What if my period pants won't even fit anymore?
I mentioned my weight gain to my husband, who, at 20 pounds over his ideal weight according to his BMI, wasn't perplexed one bit. He has the mental ability to readjust his ideal weight goal to one nearer his actual weight. Why didn't I think of that?
But on I fretted. I discussed it with friends who offered support and remarks about how I didn't look like I was getting fat. I even called my mom, who told me horror stories of her five years of menopause, and I didn't feel any better.
Then IT happened.
I was standing on the scale one morning, and it went up to 179, then to 180, then 181, 182, 183... and I yelled Oh My God!
I was ecstatic!
The digital scale just needed a new battery!
I asked my son Torin to bring me a new 9-volt, I put it in, and like magic, I was back to 171. WHEW!!
It seems silly now the sense of relief that washed over me, but I was truly happy as I realized the battery of my digital scale was dying, and that I was not quickly getting fat.
It unnerved me then, to think about how tied I had become to the scale and what I thought it said about me. I had felt like I wasn't working hard enough, I was somehow remiss in my food choices, I had better get with it or turn to mush. I was slowly developing a mild depression that I had not felt before. I punished myself with exhausting workouts and never once considered the now-obvious waning battery.
Why do we women punish ourselves to fit an ideal that is not set by us?
Why can't we be happy in the bodies we inhabit, without worrying about wrinkles and stretch marks?
Why do we compare ourselves, our bodies, to photos of airbrushed anorexic stars who survive on dry rice cakes and undressed lettuce?
And why does Kim Possible show her navel? It's a kid's show, dammit, my young sons don't need to see cartoon belly buttons and illustrated cleavage!
I know I'm one helluva woman; smart, sassy, funny, steadfast and secure ~ but I felt I was less when I "weighed" more.
And I thought she was sane...
I was talking to a friend the other day, we were sharing stories about kids, school life, fund raising ideas for our skating club, when I asked her if she heard a certain story on NPR.
She said, "Oh, we don't listen to that. We like to listen to Bill O'Reilly, he's great! I fold laundry while we watch FOX news."
I couldn't find anything else to say.
I realized then how much I really miss my True Girlfriends!
Of course I'm still friendly with her, but I know that we'll never go out and have cocktails and share stories about our husbands and children, or the drugs we did in our twenties, the music we jam to; OR how we feel about a woman's right to choose or about a same-sex couple's right to enjoy special relationship priveleges. Or the right of free people to gather in protest without being labeled as terrorists. Or the obvious fact that men, women and children are being killed every day for our president's vision of a "free Iraq". Where will it end?
Bill The Liar O'Reilly ~ great!?
How I misjudged her...